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Quick and Easy Activities

  • Elliston Lutz

    6 Ideas for Rainy-Day Fun

    Puddle jump. Go ahead -- get wet. See who can make the biggest splash, jump across the widest puddle, and be the first to fill up her boots.

    Create a "tie-dye" craft. Do the first part indoors: Grab some coffee filters and have the kids color them with markers (not washable ones), and lay them on a cookie sheet. Then put them outside in the rain and watch the colors run. Bring them inside, and after they dry, the kids can make flowers: Pinch each filter in the middle and twist, then wrap a green pipe cleaner around to make a stem.

    Take your kids on a "rescue the worms" walk. (You don't have to touch 'em!) Stroll around the neighborhood and let your kids pick them up off the sidewalk and toss them back into the grass. When you're home, go to Yucky.discovery.com and search for cool info on earthworms.

    Do a rainy-day Monet. Head outside with some sidewalk chalk. When it's wet, it works almost like paint!

    Have a splash. Take a bunch of bath toys outdoors -- boats, buckets, cups -- and play in a puddle, or find a "stream" at the edge of the street (if you live on a safe one) and race a boat against a lightweight ball.

    Make a rain catcher. If you just want to stay inside, have your child decorate a two-liter soda bottle, and measure and mark half-inches with a Sharpie. Then you cut off the top and put it outside a window where you can see it from inside. Set some fun goals: "When it gets to half an inch, we'll play a board game. When it gets to an inch, we'll make cookies..." etc.!

    Plus:
    Homemade Crafts for Kids
    Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids
    Fun Photo Activities

  • Raphaël Büchler

    6 Games to Play With a Ball

    Play Footsie Grab a big plastic ball, and have everyone lie down on the floor with their feet up. Hold the ball with your feet, and try to work together to throw and catch it.

    Clean It Up To keep your older toddler or preschooler busy while you're doing stuff nearby, give her a beach ball and washable markers. Let her decorate it and then "give it a bath" and wash the marker off.

    Kickerama Try this twist on classic kickball: After the pitcher rolls the ball, he yells either "Hop!" "Skip!" or "Jump!" The kicker then has to follow his direction as she makes her way to first base. But before the pitcher can run after the ball, he has to quack like a duck three times.

    Toss It Pair up, with each pair holding a bath towel between them. Try to toss and catch a lightweight ball from towel to towel. (If you're indoors, use a beach ball to avoid breaking lamps!) Count how many times you can toss it before it hits the ground.

    Virtual Orbs You can find lots of cool ball-related games on Miniclip.com, a free site. Click on the "Kid Games" section. Three faves: Monkey Kick Off (very simple -- an older toddler can play), Table Tennis, and Bunch (you might just get addicted to that one!).

    It's Supernatural Teach your child this trick to impress her friends and family: Tell everyone you've got magical powers in your fingertips. Put a Ping-Pong ball in front of you on a table or counter, and make a big show of wiggling your fingers over it. Without touching it, it will magically start rolling away from you. The secret? While everyone's distracted by your wildly wiggling fingers, quietly and gently blow on the ball, without moving your lips.

    Plus:
    Homemade Crafts for Kids
    Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids
    Fun Photo Activities

  • Tim Bartel

     

  • Play pasta peekaboo. Turn a colander upside down and show her how to slide spaghetti into the holes. Lift up to see where they went!

     

  • Take an empty water bottle, put in some coins, close very tightly, and voilà -- a brand-new rattle. (Just don't leave her alone with it!)

     

  • Create instant bathtime fun: Hand over your turkey baster as a squirt toy; add plastic funnels for scoop-and-pour games.

     

  • Shake, rattle, and roll. Fill a few small plastic bottles half full of water and put the caps on tightly. While you check e-mail, let your child shake 'em up -- she'll love all the splashing.

     

  • Go for color: Give your child a medicine dropper and an ice-cube tray filled with water. Add food coloring. Let him squeeze, squirt, and mix!

     

  • A good high-chair activity while you're cooking: Take an empty tissue box, throw in a few small objects -- a washcloth, a leaf, a toy car -- and let your child reach in and feel them. Then dump them out and put in a few different things.

    Photo by Tim Bartel (CC Licensed)

    Plus:
    Homemade Crafts for Kids
    Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids
    Fun Photo Activities

  • Chris Metcalf

     

  • Start a pickup game: Put crayons or markers in a small pile. Kids can try to remove one at a time without disturbing the others.

     

  • Jazz up coloring: Print out Keith Haring's imaginative artwork

     

  • Boost ABC fun: Print out adorable alphabet coloring pages

    Photo by Chris Metcalf (CC Licensed)

    Plus:
    Homemade Crafts for Kids
    Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids
    Fun Photo Activities